Flow is reminiscent of Things on the Mac. It’s a very nicely laid out todo app with tons of features that will make even the most power of power users happy. It has its heart in collaboration, so if you work within a team atmosphere, Flow is a good solution allowing team members to collaborate and work to get the tasks done. Though all this power does come at a price. After a 14-day free trial, Flow will set you back $9.99 per month or $99 per year.
In our quest to find the best task-management app, we set the following six criteria:
- Must be ubiquitous: web app, iPad app, and Android app–with sync.
- Must be easy to use.
- Must have reminders: email and SMS.
- Must have the ability to create recurring tasks.
- Must be inexpensive or free.
- Must have an attractive and intuitive interface.
Flow is the first full-featured todo app that we have reviewed. Are the features useful or just fluff? Let’s see how Flow ranks against our criteria.
Must be ubiquitous: web app, iPad app, and Android app–with sync.
Flow is a Apple-centric application available as a standalone Mac app, a web app, and an iPhone app. There is no iPad or universal app nor an Android app. Though the apps that Flow does offer do sync all together, if you work amongst many platforms, you’ll need to stick with the web app version.
Must be easy to use.
Flow offers a lot of features and all of that with highly-integrated collaboration built in. Though the app is relatively easy to use, there is a slight learning curve just to discover all of those features. Thankfully, they have a very comprehensive Support Centre that will help you along the way.
Flow is laid out very cleanly in a three-column view. On the left you have your focus (filters), your lists, and your contacts. In the middle you have your tasks and on the right you have the Navbar which varies in function depending on what’s in the middle.
By clicking on the plus sign at the bottom of the left sidebar, you can add a new list, a new folder, or a new contact.
Once you’re in the app, clicking the ”+ New Task” button or simply clicking the enter key will bring up the new-task dialogue. Here you can give your task a title, a due date, specify a repeat schedule if necessary, add it to a list, delegate it to one of your team members, and give it some tags. You can even attach files and images here.
You can rearrange your tasks using drag and drop and you complete tasks simply by clicking on the checkbox to the left of the task. Hovering over a task brings a small info box with basic details about the task and at the same time, off to the right, you’re offered four little buttons to edit, delete, comment, or flag your task.
In the top of the left panel is your focus area. By clicking on the various titles, you can filter your tasks by inbox, upcoming, flagged, delegated, or my tasks.
Just below that is the list display. By clicking on your various lists, you will list the tasks assigned to each list.
The list area is tabbed and if you click on the contacts tab, you will see the contacts that you have available to share your tasks with.
On the far right at the top of the screen there is a search area that will search through all of your tasks regardless of list or focus to find what you’re looking for. Just to the right is the toggle navbar button.
Moving to the left, the next button displays actions you can perform on your tasks. This is contextual depending on what you’re viewing, but things you can do are edit & share, duplicate, archive, delete, and export your tasks.
Again, moving to the left, is the sort and view button. You can sort your tasks in various ways and apply this to all tasks or just your flagged ones.
On the far left, the person icon is your settings and preferences for Flow and right next to it is your notification button.
Overall, there’s a lot to the interface, but it is clean and very functional once you get used to it. And though there is a learning curve, it’s not so steep that you can’t learn the basics in 5 to 10 minutes.
Must have reminders: email and SMS.
Flow offers quite a few reminder settings but the reminders are limited to in-app notifications and email. There are no SMS alerts.
Must have the ability to create recurring tasks.
Recurring tasks are a cinch in Flow. It’s one of the default options in the new-task dialogue. Props go out for not hiding this necessary feature behind some menu item.
Must be inexpensive or free.
Although the mobile and Mac apps are free, Flow charges $9.99/month or $99/year for the service. So this is absolutely the most expensive app we’ve reviewed for this App Quest. Though for a very well-developed and well-featured app, this is not an unreasonable amount of money, but there are many free or less-expensive alternatives that offer the same or similar features.
Must have an attractive and intuitive interface.
Metalab, the creators of Flow spent a lot of time on the interface. I wouldn’t call the interface beautiful in the same way that Do It Tomorrow or Wunderlist is, but it’s quite attractive and the subtle animations they’ve added make the app appear more as a desktop app than a web app. It’s obvious that much attention to detail went into the design and functionality of this app. Well done.
Flow is a full-featured app that is geared to power-users who need to collaborate within their team to complete tasks and projects. Although a steeper learning curve than earlier-reviewed apps, it’s not so steep that you can’t learn it within 5-10 minutes. If you’re that power-user with a high need to collaborate and don’t mind the $9.99/month or $99/year fee, than I highly recommend Flow. But for most users, even those who have the need for collaboration, there are similar apps with similar features that are free or at the least, not as expensive as Flow.
Are you a Flow user? Tell us what you think below.